From late summer through fall, the farmer’s markets and grocery stores begin to fill up with crisp, sweet pears— though these delectable little fruits can easily be enjoyed all year ’round.
Green, red, yellow, golden, and brown, pears are closely related to apples and similarly sized, yet don’t enjoy the same popularity as their crispy cousins — and that’s a darn shame if you ask us.
Delightfully delicate in flavour with a positively pleasant aroma, the pear (Pyrus communis) is a wonderful addition to your healthy eating plan. Need convincing? Here are 10 healthy facts that will turn you into a believer.
A Low-Calorie Treat
A single, medium-sized pear contains just 100 calories — that’s less than most pre-packaged or sweet snack options, and with many more health benefits as well. When you want a low-calorie snack to satisfy your sweet tooth, ditch the fro-yo and reach for a pear instead.
Though apples are often touted for their high-fibre content, pears actually come out on top in this department, with 3.1 grams per fruit (versus just 2.4 in an apple). A pear can provide almost a quarter of your daily recommended amount of fibre, plus the specific type of fibre found in pears is known as insoluble fibre, which do not dissolve in water as they travel through your digestive tract intact. This helps prevent constipation, as they move food and waste through your gut. This may not sound very glamorous, but consider this: preventing constipation can keep you feeling slim and prevent belly bloat. For maximum fibre benefits, don’t peel your pear. The skin has been shown to contain about half of the total dietary fibre in a pear.
Good For Your Skin
Want great skin? Then you should eat plenty of foods containing vitamin C, including pears. Vitamin C supports collagen production, and collagen is the main protein that gives skin its elasticity. As you age, your collagen begins to break down and your skin begins to sag and wrinkle. Vitamin C is also needed to support the health of other soft tissues such as your joints. A pear is a good source of vitamin C, providing 10 per cent of your daily recommended amount of this skin beautifying nutrient.
Promotes Strong Bones
Pears are a great source of vitamin K, whose primary function is to regulate normal blood clotting. Vitamin K is also an important nutrient for bone health, however. Vitamin K has been the subject of a number of studies that suggest it may help prevent osteoporosis. Pears also contain small amounts of other nutrients needed for optimum bone health such as calcium and phosphorus.
Lowers Blood Pressure
Potassium and sodium are electrolytes that affect the amount of water in your body and help maintain cellular stability. Potassium is most concentrated inside your cells, while sodium is mostly found outside your cells. There is a delicate balance between these two nutrients, and a high-potassium, low-sodium ratio is recommended to prevent high blood pressure. A single pear contains 176 mg (5% DV) potassium, and only 1.5 mg (0%) of naturally-found sodium, making it a great food for those who want to look after thei hearts.
A Good Source Of Copper
Copper is an essential trace mineral that supports a number of different functions in your body, and is essential for your liver, brain, heart, kidneys, and skeletal muscles. Adequate copper levels can help your immune system fight off infection, reduce your risk for osteoporosis, and support the collagen and elastin that keeps your body tissues healthy.
A Good Source Of Manganese
Manganese is another essential trace mineral found in pears. Manganese is found mostly in your bones, liver, kidneys, and pancreas. Manganese is one of the many nutrients found in pears that supports healthy bones. This nutrient is a component of the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD), which, in addition to fighting free radicals, may be helpful in protecting arthritic joints from inflammation.
Chockfull Of Antioxidants
Pears are a great source of beneficial antioxidants that offer anti-inflammatory benefits. The particular antioxidants found in pears such as catechins, epicatechins, quercetin, beta carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin have been associated with vision health and a decreased risk of several common chronic inflammatory diseases. Research shows that the skin of the pears contain three to four times as many beneficial antioxidant phytonutrients than the flesh, so wash, but don’t peel your pears!
Good For The Tummy
One of the first foods that many paediatricians recommend for a baby to begin eating is pears; it is widely accepted that pears are an easy to digest food. If you are having digestive issues, stay clear of fruits with a high acid content, such as citrus fruits, and reach for a pear instead.
Many healthcare practitioners will allow pears when their patients are undergoing elimination diets to pinpoint food sensitivities. Pears are often described as a “hypoallergenic,” or low allergy, food. Pears easy digestibility and decreased allergic response make them a food that everyone can enjoy.
Aid In Weight Loss
Low in calories, high in fibre, and full of nutrients that support your health: pears are a perfect food to enjoy if you are trying to lose weight. Swap out a sugary snack, like cookies or ice cream, for a naturally sweet pear instead. Keep your metabolism fired up between meals by enjoying a pear along with a bit of almond butter or a handful of pecans; the combination of carbohydrate plus protein and healthy fats is perfect for a mini-meal that will satisfy and not cause your blood sugar to spike. When weight loss is your goal, a pear can definitely be a part of your meal plan.